Group seeks implementation of escrow deposit for foreign recruiters

MANILAA group of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Friday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to strictly implement the USD10,000 escrow deposit requirement for all foreign recruitment agencies (FRAs) to protect the welfare of OFWs worldwide.

In a manifesto, the Advocates and Keepers Organization of OFWs, Inc. (AKO OFW) appealed to the Chief Executive to order Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia to implement the regulatory policynot only in Kuwait, but in all countries employing OFWs.

We ardently and urgently request His Excellency to kindly issue an order instructing all concerned agencies, bureaus, and offices of the government to sustainably and more strictly implement the mandatory requirement of escrow deposit (for) all FRAs in the amount (of) USD10,000 for the sake and sole benefit of vulnerable OFWs and their families, the group said in an open letter to the President.

They noted that the issuance of such directive would further affirm the President's concern for Filipinos working abroad.

It is in these circumstances and premises that we are calling the President's attention, hoping and deeply praying that imposition of penalty or sanction be immediately undertaken against non-compliant FRAs to the escrow deposit requirement to continuously protect and promote the benefits, interest, rights, and general welfare of those OFWs, the group said.

The AKO OFW added that a protective mechanism is highly necessary in countries of destinations, particularly in Arab nations, noting that it would be vital in protecting OFWs who are and would be victims of abuse and exploitation of employers and other entities abroad.

The manifesto was signed by AKO OFW national president Marcia Sadion and Dr. Chie Umandap, founding chairman of the group.

Last June, the POEA announced that it will be implementing a USD10,000 escrow deposit for FRAs of Filipino household service workers (HSWs) in Kuwait.

The escrow fund, provided for in the guidelines for the hiring and deployment of HSWs, is set to be used to pay for claims of OFWs in case their employers refuse to pay up.

Last week, Bello disclosed that Olalia has suspended the USD10,000 escrow deposit requirement for Kuwaiti FRAs, to prevent accusations that they are discriminating against FRAs in the Arab nation.

The labor chief said another directive for the application of the escrow to all FRAs in all destination countries will be issued soon. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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